Which neuroscience conference should I go to?

New to neuroscience? I’m here to help*. Here are the meetings you might consider going to:

Society for Neuroscience
This is the big one! Go once, you’ll love it or hate it
Pros: It is all skippable without guilt. Everyone is there. 
Cons: Vendor swag always disappoints. Food is not food.
What to bring: BodyGlide (ok to publicly reapply in Poster Areas NN-OO)

Gordon Conference: Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology
Does the postsynaptic density contain 147 proteins, or 741 proteins? Competing slides of colored shapes and arrows hold the answer.
Pros: Plenary speakers arrive/leave immediately before/after their talks, so less gasbaggery at chow time.
Cons: Postsynaptic density.
What to bring: Slides from the 90s, apparently.

Cold Spring Harbor: Neural Circuits
Highlights from the Nature Methods table of contents are read to you out loud.
Pros: Sunsets
Cons: One camper gets hurt water skiing every summer and ruins it for everyone. 
What to bring: News of the outside world.

Janelia Farm: Any conference
Want to know what the combined smell of money and fear is? Me neither.
Pros: Shiny.
Cons: Not really a farm. 
What to bring: Perspective.

Keystone Symposia
These are not real meetings, just a way to spend grant money on ski trips.
Pros: See above.
Cons: Unknown. 
What to bring: Skis I guess? 

Your Model System / Part of the Brain Meeting
<long sigh> Yeah I guess you should go
Pros: Shared delusion that your shit matters
Cons: Shared delusion that your shit matters
What to bring: Schmoozing A-game. These people review your papers/grants.  


* Tenure file, under “outreach” and “mentoring.”


7 Comments on “Which neuroscience conference should I go to?”

  1. Haha LOL. Also: why are you not on twitter anymore?

  2. Bam294 says:

    It is all the funnies!

  3. Cosyne: Is visual cortex a Bayesian machine or maximally entropic Ising model? Do these words even make sense? Here are 25 different models that will give you the answer

    Pros: Skiing on Snowbird
    Cons: You have to deal with the reek of nearby symposium attendees who don’t shower after skiing
    What to bring: Food for Sunday, as all of Salt Lake City apparently shuts down (including the fast food)

  4. Adding to Cosyne:
    Pros (if you’re looking for a man): The odds are good.
    Cons: The goods are odd.

  5. […] Which neuroscience conference should you go to? It really depends on the bars. […]

  6. DJMH says:

    LOLOLOLOLz. CSHL, also bring your quadriceps, because those little cabins don’t come with escalators. Also a paper mask to cover your sleeping face when talks go past 9 pm. GRCs (most locations), you will want strong bug spray. Janelia (summer) ditto, as it is the epicenter of Lyme disease, which may explain the general derangement you will encounter, indoors and out.

  7. biochembelle says:

    I recently heard a con for the Keystone meetings – altitude sickness. Apparently strikes ~10% of attendees. Not fun.

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